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TODD MCFARLANE TO ATTEMPT SHARED UNIVERSE CREATION

Todd McFarlane is swinging for the fences with his latest project. Announced during a first look presentation to the Direct Market Retailers at the Annual ComicsPRO Conference, the creator will attempt to create his own multi-character interconnected comic book universe. He wants to establish something in the vein of Marvel and DC.

Central to this is Spawn, created by McFarlane. The long term goal is that Spawn will be just one of the many characters that will succeed. Four new titles were announced as part of this, debuting in 2021. Three of them will continue as regular monthly titles. That's why McFarlane is calling 2021 “The Year of Spawn.”

"The simple question is this: DC Comics started a shared universe in the late 1930s. Marvel Comics began theirs in the early 1960s… so, can lightning strike a third time beginning in 2021? I personally do not have the answer to that question right now, but the only way to get an answer to that question is to make the attempt in the first place," said McFarlane.

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"This is a long-intended plan that will need the help of dozens and dozens of creators to help create hundreds and hundreds of characters. And then to reward those creators if any of their ideas pay off in a big way outside of the comic industry. The quest isn't to have our ideas exclusively live in the comic book industry but to have merit and value outside of that industry as well. My character Spawn has been an example of what can happen with creation… so, what are the possibilities if hundreds of creations are brought together? Marvel and DC Comics have shown us that a collective group of characters, together, in a shared universe can resonate globally. I think it is time for David to attempt to join the same arena as the Goliaths of the world."

The action begins in June when retailers can order Spawn's Universe #1. This will set the stage with a story that will carry over into the next monthly comics. August sees the release of King Spawn #1, a new monthly comic starring Spawn and the first time in 28 years fans can buy a monthly Spawn #1 comic.

In October, Image Comics will release its second monthly series in this shared universe, Gunslinger Spawn. This character has been a hit among fans over the past year so it's no wonder he's getting a spotlight.

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Finally, there's a team book. Five characters will join together to handle threats too big for them to take on alone in The Scorched. Spawn, Redeemer, Gunslinger, Medieval Spawn, and She-Spawn make up the starting line up, but McFarlane promises a rotating cast of characters over the coming months to keep things fresh. There will be some major new villains popping up too.

McFarlane is not creating all these comics on his own. He's tapped an impressive array of talent to lend a hand including Art Adams, Jason Shawn Alexander, Carlo Barberi, Brett Booth, J. Scott Campbell, Greg Capullo, Donny Cates, Jim Cheung, Mike del Mundo, Javier Fernandez, David Finch, Jonathan Glapion, Kevin Keane, Aleš Kot, Puppeteer Lee, Sean Lewis, Sean Gordon Murphy, Ben Oliver, Stephen Segovia, Paulo Siqueira, Marc Silvestri, Marcio Takara, and Frank Quitely, with more to be announced soon.

There have been attempts at shared universes under Image Comics, but since all the comics are creator-owned, it's been a challenge. With McFarlane helming this project, I'm curious how it might turn out. I definitely have to brush up on my Spawn though as I am way behind.

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About The Author
James Ferguson
Lord of the Funny Books
James has a 2nd grade reading level and, as a result, only reads books with pictures. Horror is his 5th favorite genre right after romantic comedy and just before silent films. No one knows why he's here, but he won't leave.
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